Story of Saritha Nair — the woman at the centre of solar scamhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kerala-solar-scam-oommen-chandy-congress-saritha-nair/

Story of Saritha Nair — the woman at the centre of solar scam

The solar scam in Kerala has rocked the Oommen Chandy government hard

oommen chandy, solar scam, kerala, solar scandal, congress, saritha nair, biju radhakrishnan, CPM, BJP, kerala news, aryadan mohammed
Solar scam accused Saritha Nair in Kochi on Monday. (PTI Photo)

February 7

While in jail near Thiruvananthapuram, Saritha wrote a letter naming VVIPs who had allegedly used her physically promising solar business contracts. A set of videos of her in the nude, which she says she shot for private use, soon hit the media — a leak by police, she says, to portray her in a bad light. A laptop and cellphones she had submitted never reached court, says Saritha.

While in jail near Thiruvananthapuram, Saritha wrote a letter naming VVIPs who had allegedly used her physically promising solar business contracts. A set of videos of her in the nude, which she says she shot for private use, soon hit the media — a leak by police, she says, to portray her in a bad light. A laptop and cellphones she had submitted never reached court, Saritha adds.

She still retains that dream of what could have been. She talks of her plans for a mega power project in the renewable energy sector which, she says, she discussed with the CM.

Read: Saritha Nair, the woman at the centre of the scandal

February 6

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Speaking exclusively to The Indian Express, Saritha S Nair, an accused in the solar scandal, said that she was close to Kerala CM Oommen Chandy’s family.

“I was never a stranger to him or his family. I had the freedom to enter his house anytime… the kind of freedom to enter another person’s kitchen, I was that close. I was a frequent visitor,” she said.

She added that she never needed a security pass to enter the CM’s bungalow as she was familiar to everyone there.

Chandy however dismissed Saritha’s statement as ‘false claims.’

February 4

Solar scam accused Saritha Nair will submit more proof against CM Oommen Chandy before the judicial commission. She told the commission that Chandy’s office had a crucial role to play in the rise and fall of the private firm she started.

Nair also said that she would submit details about her sexual abuse, including names of those who exploited her, to the court in a sealed cover.

Nair alleged that Chandy asked her firm to come up with big projects and also promised to allot 113 acres of government land in Palakkad.

Chandy appears before the commission, Monday. (PTI Photo)
Chandy appears before the commission, Monday. (PTI Photo)

January 30

Protests have erupted across Kerala and opposition parties are gunning for the resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy for his alleged links in the solar scam. The scandal in which senior ministers of the government are purported to have given favours to a private firm, which conned investors NRIs and investors, has rocked the government.

Trouble compounded for the chief minister when Saritha S Nair, one of the two partners in the firm and a prime accused in the case, deposed before the judicial commission and alleged that she had paid a bribe of Rs 1.90 crore to Chandy through his personal aides to set up mega power projects in the state. Nair also claimed she had paid a bribe of Rs 40 lakh to Power Minister and senior Congress leader Aryadan Muhammed.

Following Nair’s statement, a vigilance court in Thrissur ordered the registration of an FIR against Chandy. But the CM appealed to the High Court which in turn put a stay order on the vigilance court directive. Chandy later told reporters, “Truth has prevailed.”

Read: Everything you need to know about the solar scam

Oommen Chandy’s son

Nair has also claimed before the commission that there was a plan to float a firm that would be involved in renewable energy and Chandy wanted to make his son Oommen as its director. She alleged that there was also a plan to import solar panels from the US, as part of a venture in which Chandy’s son allegedly had a stake.

Read: Audio has Cong leader ‘tutoring’ Saritha Nair ahead of deposition

How it all began

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In June 2013, the Kerala police arrested Nair and two weeks later, her live-in partner Radhakrishnan. They were both business partners in a Kochi-based firm, Team Solar Renewable Energy Solutions Pvt Limited, which offered solar energy solutions to institutions and households. In the beginning, it was a simple case of cheating. The couple would collect investments from businessmen and NRIs, promising to make them partners in wind mill projects and solar fields. They dropped names of politicians, including of Chandy, and that was enough to convince most businessmen to invest in their schemes. If that wasn’t enough, the couple would produce forged letterheads of the CM’s office and impress them by talking on the phone to the CM’s staff.

One of the meetings, with an investor called Sreedharan Nair, reportedly took place in the chief minister’s conference room. It was on a complaint by Sajad A, a Gulf-returned businessman, that the police moved to arrest Nair. Sajad alleged that the couple had taken Rs 40 lakh as consultation fee after promising to make him the owner of three wind mills projects. When did the project did not take off, he lodged a police complaint. Nair’s arrest led to more complaints trickling in and the police registered 33 cheating cases against the couple. They also moved to collect Nair’s call records. That’s when the names tumbled out.

(With inputs from Shaju Philip)

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